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On a dining table, Mashed Red Potatoes may lack the visual splendor of a dazzling golden roasted turkey or a majestic standing rib roast, but this favorite comfort dish makes up for it with its rich, creamy, buttery flavor. We tend to think of mashed potatoes as a holiday side dish, but since they’re so simple to make, I reach for my potato masher even on busy weeknights!

Mashed Red Potatoes photographed from above

Russet potatoes are usually the preferred spuds for this dish, but thin-skinned red potatoes offer a deliciously different taste and texture. Unlike russets, red potatoes don’t need to be peeled first, meaning you can make them quickly — and leaving the skins on adds a delicate flavor, more interesting mouthfeel and a pretty pop of color. Lightly salty and rich with olive oil, butter and garlic, you’ll want to serve these silky potatoes with everything!

These are sooo good! I was definitely skeptical to mash them with olive oil. I’m so used to mashing potatoes with milk. These are delicious! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

Heather H.

Ingredients for Mashed Red Potatoes

  • Red Potatoes: about 2 pounds, which is about 7-8 small red potatoes or 14-15 red new potatoes
  • Butter: unsalted or salted butter works, but you may need to adjust the salt
  • Garlic: fresh cloves or in a pinch, you can use jarred minced garlic
  • Fine Sea Salt: the fine grains blend well into the creamy mixture
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: I like cold pressed ones because they tend to be higher quality and retain more nutrients
  • Chives: fresh chives add texture, flavor and color

Waxy vs. Starchy Potatoes

Some cooks avoid using red potatoes for mashing because they’re considered waxy, meaning they have more moisture and less starch, which can lead to a less appealing, gluey outcome (once mashed). But I rely on a couple of simple tricks to create perfect mashed potatoes every time! 

  1. First, I steam the potatoes instead of boiling them, which prevents them from being overcooked or waterlogged. Steaming also creates very tender potatoes, making them easy to mash. 
  2. Which brings us to my second trick – lightly mashing. You’ll want to avoid over-mashing them because red potatoes are naturally smooth and creamy. 
Mashed Red Potatoes served in a ceramic bowl

4 Recipe Tips

  1. I like to steam all types of potatoes, not just red ones, for mashed potato dishes because it avoids overcooking or waterlogged potatoes. The key is to steam them until they are very tender.
  2. Avoid over-mashing the potatoes or you may end up with a gluey, pasty mixture.
  3. Red potato skins are thin and delicate, so there’s no need to skin them before cooking.
  4. If you don’t feel like hunting down a scale at your grocery store or farmer’s market, a good rule of thumb for 2 pounds is 7 or 8 small red potatoes or 14 or 15 new red potatoes.

Savory, creamy Mashed Red Potatoes are an incredibly versatile side dish. They’re easy to make, don’t require a lot of ingredients and accentuate almost any main course.

Serve With

I love to serve these potatoes with everything from Turkey Meatloaf or Meatloaf with Oatmeal, Bacon Wrapped Pork Chops and Roasted Lamb Chops or Pan-Fried Lamb Chops to Duck Confit during the year. For our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners I serve them alongside Turkey Roulade or Dry Brine Turkey and Cornbread Dressing (or Sourdough Stuffing) with Turkey Gravy without drippings.

How to Make Mashed Red Potatoes

Step 1: Steam cubes of red potato until very tender.

Steaming Red Potatoes Until Tender

Step 2: Cook and stir garlic in melted butter then stir in salt and olive oil. Pour olive oil mixture over tender red potato cubes in a large bowl and mash to desired consistency. Serve!

Recipe Video

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Mashed Red Potatoes

5 from 24 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Calories: 421
Servings: 4 people
Mashed Red Potatoes make an ideal side dish for your holiday table and are easy enough to make any time! 


  • 2 pounds red potatoes cut into 1-inch cubes (7 or 8 small red potatoes)
  • 4 tablespoons butter 1/4 cup
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic about 3 large cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • minced chives for garnish, optional


  • Place raw red potato cubes in a large steamer basket over a large pot of boiling water. Cover and steam until very tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
  • When potatoes are nearly tender, melt butter in a small saucepan. Add garlic; cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add salt and olive oil; stir until just heated through. Remove from heat.
  • Transfer tender potatoes to a large bowl. Pour olive oil mixture over and mash with a potato masher to desired consistency. Garnish with chives if desired and serve.


  1. If you don’t have a steamer, feel free to boil potatoes instead. To a large pot, add cubed potatoes and enough cold water to cover by 1-inch. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat and let summer until potatoes are tender. Drain and proceed with recipe.
  2. If you’re not a fan of olive oil in these mashed red potatoes, no problem! Just increase the butter to 10 tablespoons and skip the olive oil. Likewise, if you want to use just olive oil for a vegan / dairy-free version, use 10 tablespoons of olive oil (1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons) and skip the butter.
  3. To make Garlic Mashed Red Potatoes, mash in the roasted garlic cloves from one or two heads of roasted garlic along with the olive oil mixture before serving. To roast heads of garlic: remove the outer papery skin and cut off the top 1/2 inch of the head to expose garlic cloves. Drizzle with olive and wrap in aluminum foil. Transfer to a baking dish or baking sheet to catch any drips and roast at 400˚F for 35-40 minutes until tender and lightly brown. Let cool slightly before squeezing cloves out with your fingers or lifting out with a cocktail fork.


Calories: 421kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 422mg | Potassium: 1044mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 366IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. Corinne says:

    5 stars
    Loved this recipe with a roast I made, it was so savory and flavorful! Even being reheated at a later time the potatoes retained moisture and tasted just as amazing as the first time! Loved this recipe & will make again!!!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      I love to hear this, Corinne! So glad you enjoyed these and plan to make them again.

  2. Sharla says:

    Excellent!! I made ahead and left to stay warm in crockpot.

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      So glad you enjoyed these, Sharla! Such a convenient way to keep potatoes warm.

  3. Lillian Coates says:

    5 stars
    Turned out great, I did add a little extra butter at the end. Easy and really delicious!!!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      That’s wonderful to hear, Lillian!

  4. Deb says:

    5 stars
    Very good! I added cream cheese & omitted garlic.

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Hi Deb! Glad you enjoyed these and added your own touches.

  5. Lorna says:

    5 stars
    Came out delicious, added a little parsley & parmesan cheese! 👍

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      That’s fantastic, Lorna! Thank you for letting me know.